Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized exoplanet
(ORDO NEWS) — Near a red dwarf, 72 light-years away, a planet of almost Earth size has been found. At the same time, its mass is many times greater than that of the Earth, which indicates a very high density of this distant and unusual world.
The vast majority of the thousands of exoplanets known today are much larger than our own.
However, it is the Earth-like worlds that are of main interest, as they allow a better understanding of the processes of their formation and the conditions that make such planets habitable.
Ideally, they should not be too far away so that they can be easily seen, and near small stars, so that they turn around more often, making it possible to collect more transit data and learn about the composition of the atmosphere.
However, detecting such worlds is quite difficult, and within 100 light years from the Sun, only 14 exoplanets with a diameter of less than 1.25 Earth are known, and seven of them are in the same system – the famous TRAPPIST-1.
All the more significant is the discovery, which was reported by an international team of scientists led by Teruyuki Hirano from the Japanese Center for Astrobiology.
Exoplanet K2-415b was found in the data of the already completed work of the Kepler telescope, as well as the TESS apparatus, which replaced the first apparatus in orbit.
K2-415b orbits a tiny red dwarf, only 16 percent of the mass of the Sun, located just 72 light-years away.
The size of the planet itself is almost the same as ours – its radius is estimated at 1.015 Earth. However, the similarities seem to end there.
According to available data, the mass of K2-415b is about three times that of our planet, which means that its density is much higher.
In addition, it completes its annual revolution in just four days: taking into account the weak radiation of the star, the orbit passes at the innermost border of the “habitable zone”.
All this hardly allows us to hope that any life can be present on K2-415b. Nevertheless, the discovery of such an Earth-sized planet so close to us is an undoubted success, which will allow us to better understand how such worlds are generally born and how they evolve.
Most likely, K2-415b even has an atmosphere, the study of which will be the next task for astronomers.
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